|Abhishek Das is congratulated by teammates after scoring East Bengal's opening goal against United SC, at the Salt Lake Stadium, on Monday. East Bengal won 3-0. A Telegraph picture
Calcutta: As East Bengal were forced to remain content with the I-League runners-up position with a 3-0 victory over United SC at the Salt Lake Stadium on Monday, coach Armando Colaco was left ruing the missed chances.
“Dropping points at home against Churchill Brothers was important… I would like to mention in the same vein splitting points against Mohun Bagan, Mumbai FC and Lajong…
“You can’t afford to drop points in home matches… You have got to grab the chances that come your way… You can’t wait for things to happen. We are to be blamed for this,” said Colaco.
East Bengal finished on 43 points from 24 matches, four behind champions Bengaluru FC.
The coach was non-committal on deciding to extend his contract with East Bengal for another season. “I will have to talk to my family,” Colaco said.
He didn’t wish to make many changes to the side if he’s back next season. “When I took charge this season, I told the club management not to make many changes. I told the officials to keep the side intact as this was a settled unit.
“Too much changes don’t help… You’ve to keep the team together. Nobody has got patience here. You’ve got to show patience and wait for the results… Here everyone craves for a win!”
Colaco though has a few players in mind for next season. “If I’m back I would like to have Ranty Martins, Peter Carvalho, Debabrata Roy, Valeriano Rebello… When the wing backs move up, you get good support upfront…”
Despite finishing second in the I-League, East Bengal may get a chance to play the AFC Cup. That is because the Federation Cup may not take place before the deadline for participation in the AFC Cup. The usual practice is to have the I-League and Federation Cup champions in the premier tournament.
Colaco has been impressed by a few of the youngsters in the East Bengal team. “Youngsters like Abhishek Das, Subodh Kumar, Seiminlen Doungel have been impressive… Together we have performed well to finish second… I always admire the players’ efforts. It’s a team game after all.”
Colaco was disappointed to hear that Mohammed Sporting have finished last in the standings and are likely to be relegated.
“Since the time I was the national coach, I have been insisting that have more and more teams in the I-League. But the AIFF doesn’t care about such opinions.
“Look at cricket, no one drives out teams like the AIFF. The Chennai Super Kings is playing in the IPL despite going through the worst of times. I feel sorry for Mohammedan Sporting. It shouldn’t have happened.”
Colaco is planning to hold a three-day course for aspiring coaches at the East Bengal club. The dates haven’t been finalised though.